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Even though Star Wars technically falls in the fantasy category, it holds a lot of similarities with some of the great science fiction works. Chances are, if you were a Star Wars fan in the late 90’s and early 2000’s you have seen, loved, or at least heard about Farscape the television series and it’s 2004 follow up film Peacekeeper Wars. A lot of Star Wars fans however, don’t realize all the little connections between Farscape and Star Wars. Here I’ll outline those connections and preview a little bit of the future of Farscape and the Jim Henson company.
1. Wayne Pygram plays Captain Tarkin in Revenge of the Sith. Australian actor Wayne Pygram portrayed Farscape’s main villain Scorpius in all 4 seasons of Farscape and Peacekeeper Wars.
2. Bruce Spence stars in Revenge of the Sith as Pau’an Port Administrator Tion Medon as well as Prefect Falaak in season 4 episode 9 “A Prefect Murder” of Farscape.
3. Creature designer Dave Elsey worked on Farscape and Star Wars. Elsey worked as creative supervisor in the Jim Henson Creature Shop on Farscape as well as creature designer on Peacekeeper Wars. Elsey also served as creature shop creative supervisor on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith where he helped design the Wookiees, charred Anakin and Pau’an Tion Medon played by Bruce Spence.
4. Kirk Thatcher, creature designer on Return of the Jedi stars as a judge on new SyFy program Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.
If this post got you itching to revisit Farscape, good news, a brand new sequel may be on the horizon. According to BleedingCool, Justin Monjo, writer on Farscape is in the process of writing a sequel to the 2004 SyFy channel movie Peacekeeper Wars that will follow John and Aeryn’s son D’argo Sun-Chriton! We think SyFy’s new series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge might be testing out creature creators for the new Farscape sequel, so we will be watching the show with a vested interest. Here’s more info on the series: (via SlashFilm)
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge is a competition series featuring ten aspiring creature creators competing to out-imagine one another in a series of challenges where they will build everything from mechanical characters to whimsical beasts, bringing high-end inanimate creature designs to life. The contestants compete for a prize worth up to $100,000 including the opportunity for the job of a lifetime – a contract working at the world-renowned Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™.
Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company and the Creature Shop, will serve as lead judge on the series. He will be joined by additional judges Beth Hathaway (a Creature Fabricator who has worked on such projects as Jurassic Park, The Walking Dead and Edward Scissorhands) and Kirk R. Thatcher (a Creature Designer with credits such as Return of the Jedi, Gremlins and E.T.). Gigi Edgley, best known for her role on Farscape, will serve as host.
Serving as mentors on the series will be world-renowned designer Peter Brooke, mechanization and animatronics master John Criswell and fabrication and artistic specialist Julie Zobel. The three are longtime Creature Shop artists who have dedicated their talents to the Henson legacy. Their tenures with The Jim Henson Company span decades and they bring a specialized knowledge having collaborated directly with Jim Henson himself. Working alongside the creature creators inside their workplace at the Creature Shop, they will be available for consultation and hands-on assistance.
The creative challenges in the series will showcase the fascinating process behind creature building, from conceptual design to sculpting, fabricating and mechanization. Each episode will end with on-set performances involving the elaborate and life-like creations. The creature creators will be tasked to create everything from hand puppets to large-scale theatrical creatures that can master the balance between realism and fantasy.
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge is a production of The Jim Henson Company. Brian Henson will executive produce with his sister Lisa Henson, the company’s CEO. In addition to her time at The Jim Henson Company, Lisa’s prolific career in entertainment includes serving as president for Columbia Pictures where she oversaw films like Men In Black and The People vs. Larry Flint. Before that, she was a production executive at Warner Bros. where she worked on projects like Batman and Lethal Weapon. Lisa is currently in production on the upcoming family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Also serving as executive producers on Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge are Joseph Freed (Little People Big World, Rachael Ray) and Rob Bagshaw (Paradise Hotel, Top Chef Masters, Project Runway All Stars).
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge premieres on Tuesday, March 25th at 10/9c